After the most recent of the many shootings at a US high school, one of the students interviewed for the soundbite said something revealing about the guy who went postal:
‘Yeah, he used to come to school every day and say ‘fuck the world’ and all that shit, but we never thought he really meant it.’
Yeah, funny that. But quite often the people who end up with blood on their hands have been trying to tell you ‘I really, really meant it’ all along. Michael Jackson is a perfect example. Think back to his song and album titles: ‘With a Child’s Heart’, ‘I Can’t Help It’, ‘Bad’, ‘Dangerous’, ‘In the Closet’, ‘Childhood’, ‘Give in to Me’, and ‘Scream’. I could go on. Of course, it’s our job to retroactively inscribe with pathos and hidden meanings all those ‘perfectly innocent coincidences’, now that we know what we know… but were they ever coincidences? Maybe the bigger mistake was just to dismiss the evidence that was staring us in the face the whole time.
Given his penchant for plastic surgery, wacko Jacko’s ‘Man in the Mirror’ has taken on a particularly sinister aspect. Jacko, after declaring that he’d been the victim of/a selfish kinda love, sung something like the following: I'm Gonna Make A Change/ It's Gonna Feel Real Good!/ Come On!/(Change . . .)/ Just Lift Yourself/ You Know/ You've Got To Stop It./ Yourself!/(Yeah!-Make That Change!)/ I've Got To Make That Change,/ Today!/ Hoo!/ (Man In The Mirror)/ You Got To/ You Got To Not Let Yourself . . ./ Brother . . ./ Hoo!/ (Yeah!-Make That Change!). I always wonder if dictators mutter similar ditties to themselves when they comb their beards or wax their scalps of a morning. Unlike most, Castro seems perfectly comfortable to live out the last of his days in a parasilk tracksuit befitting a retired Broadmeadows smack dealer, but most dictators (past and present) seem to indicate that they too are looking at ‘the man in the mirror’ and saying ‘na na na, na na na, na na’ to their reflection. But is this just what gives them a stiffy?
Certainly, When John Howard looks in the mirror, he’s unlikely to see any resemblance to Jacko, or a dictator – but the funny thing is, he’s looking increasingly like a weird blend of Michael Jackson and Robert Mugabe. Howard is a man who spent the past decade betting on white (and hating on black) after seeing the solid gold opportunities issuing from the mouth of that rural, redneck, racist redhead – the one who actually unapologetically expressed the deeply felt anxieties of Australian white trash – and he’s been cashing in her (fish and) chips ever since. The strategy is simple: you just take the most vulnerable groups in society (refugees, aboriginals, homosexuals, the poor), then you set them up as thee threat to the majority. You then say that this majority (who you represent), have been ‘silent too long’ and that you’re sick of being the ‘held hostage by your own decency’. Then you victimise the ‘threat’ (while saying that you, the victimizer, are the real victim, even to the point of saying that your victimization is something ‘they made you do’). Once you’ve softened the threat up in this way, you defund and eliminate them. And when they fail, you blame them for their failure and say to your supporters, ‘See, I told you so’ while stressing your unwavering concern and benevolence for them. You tried to help, but they wouldn’t listen.
But the tried-and-true recipe doesn’t seem to be attracting the punters, not when ‘the other guy’ does a better impersonation of you than even you’re capable of, these days. So what’s an aging leader to do? Mugabe-like, you clutch and grasp – anything but lose the thing, the power. Anyone who’s ever known junkies or watched Rocky and Bullwinkle will know how the riddle runs. ‘I’ve changed’, ‘this time it’s different’, 'This time for sure', ‘I really mean it’, ‘I know I’ve stuffed you round, but you gotta trust me’. ‘Just one more time… I love you, you’re the only one I can trust, etc’. This is also part of the abuse, you see (if you’re reading this and hearing your lover’s words, heed mine and leave).
It’s a fine performance (back to Howard…errr… Jacko): “See The Kids In The Street/ With Not Enough To Eat/ Who Am I, To Be Blind?/ Pretending Not To See/ Their Needs/ A Summer's Disregard/ A Broken Bottle Top/ And A One Man's Soul/ They Follow Each Other On/ The Wind Ya' Know/ 'Cause They Got Nowhere/ To Go/ That's Why I Want You To/Know/ I'm Starting With The Man In/ The Mirror/ I'm Asking Him To Change/ His Ways/ And No Message Could Have/ Been Any Clearer/ If You Wanna Make The World/ A Better Place/ (If You Wanna Make The/ World A Better Place)/ Take A Look At Yourself, And/ Then Make A Change/ (Take A Look At Yourself, And/ Then Make A Change)/ (Na Na Na, Na Na Na, Na Na,/Na Nah)”
Honest John even seems to have difficulty believing what he’s seeing in the mirror as he sings for salvation… but maybe that’s because the real money shot is hidden. He said (about reconciliation), “Some will no doubt want to portray my remarks tonight as a form of Damascus Road conversion.” About two thousand years ago on Damascus Road, Saul – who was formerly the cruellest and most brutal persecutor of the Christians – thought better of it, and became Paul, Christ's most zealous supporter. Around eleven years ago, little Johnny became a bit Pauline himself, taking the ruder parts of Hanson's imagination of the ideal body politic and secreting them about his person. Howard’s real ‘dirty little secret’ was that one day in 1996, while appearing to publicly smack up the Ipswitch bitch, Howard was secretly changing’ his pitch up by snow-dropping her flag-themed undies and putting them on underneath the grey suit. Shhhhh…. Never mind Elle Macpherson intimates, singlets and thongs are our national dress in a way far more intimate and unnatural than you previously imagined. The swing to the right began with the little dangle that John packed tightly into the sexy, snug satin of Pauline’s dirty laundry, and these are garments he’s never stopped wearing, simply because, as rude and dirty as they are, no matter how much you try to smear them, they’re impossible to spot.
in which the naked chimp is unmasked, his machines debugged, and his bugbears debunked
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